THE NOVEL THAT DOESN'T FINISH ON THE LAST PAGE
August 8th 2014
Most people who know of Mark Watson will probably be more familiar with his work as a stand-up comedian than as a novelist. However, with five novels now to his name, the balance may be shifting. His latest book, entitled Hotel Alpha, is the story of London's most extraordinary hotel, run by a man called Howard, which has been built on a series of secrets and dreams. Whilst the book has an excellent plot, the real twist comes when you finish it.
Alongside the novel, Mark has written 100 accompanying stories that can be found online - some the length of a tweet, others a paragraph, others a thousand words or more. The stories can be read in any order and shine an alternative light on the plot, bringing to life additional scenes, exposing secrets and hidden links, and giving voice to some of the thousands of minor characters. It's a fantastic concept which plays with the idea of the traditional novel, pulling into question whether a book actually finishes when the last page has been read, and blending together the strengths of both print and online.
If you want to get a taste of what Mark calls an 'encyclopaedic novel', pick up a copy over at Picador's website then head to the Hotel Alpha Stories website as soon as you've finished it to read on.
THE END OF TIME
July 31st 2014
After 7 weeks of fairly solid reading and a further 6 days of whittling down the shortlist — the longest whittling process in the short history of Popshot — we have now chosen the final 25 pieces of writing that will make their way into our 'Time' issue.
The authors of the chosen pieces were notified earlier today so if you submitted to this issue but haven't received an email from us, unfortunately that means that your work hasn't been selected. Our apologies for not being able to be more personal in our responses, and thanks again to everyone who took the time and effort to send their compositions in. The standard of writing was higher than ever so if you haven't made the final cut, that certainly doesn't mean that your writing wasn't up to scratch...it probably means we need more pages.
Submissions for our 13th issue will open up in December, so keep your eyes out for that. In the meantime, if you would like to get a better idea of the work that we publish, you can subscribe from just £10 a year, or read every issue we've made for just £5.50 courtesy of the Popshot app.
A LITERARY FEAST AT WILDERNESS FESTIVAL
July 18th 2014
With the exception of Latitude and a couple of others, music festivals and literary festivals are rarely blended together with much consideration. However, this year, it looks like Wilderness Festival has stepped up to the plate, blending music (from Metronomy and London Grammar) with theatre, spectaculars, banquets, and a dazzling range of literary events and talks.
Set in the bucolic Oxfordshire countryside from August 7th - 10th, the four day festival will bring together a diverse number of writers and speakers – such as Irvine Welsh, Antony Gormley and George Monbiot – and showcase some of London's best spoken word nights. Expect to see Book Slam, Tongue Fu and Chill Pill there amongst others, putting on some stellar line ups for the 10,000 strong festival goers. To find out more about the literary line up and to snap up tickets, head to the Wilderness website. We'll be there across the weekend and will be posting up a short review of it on this very website in the days following.
TIME IS RUNNING OUT
July 10th 2014
There are just over two weeks left before we close for submissions for our Time issue. So if you have a time-oriented short story or poem stuffed up your sleeve, you don't have much longer to heave it out, polish it up, and send it in.
We've received some weird and wonderful pieces of writing over the last few weeks but are still on the lookout for short stories and poems with a slightly offbeat slant and a twist in the tale. So, if you want to see your writing illustrated, then stamped into 4,500 copies of Popshot and delivered to bookshops all over the globe, check out the full guidelines at our submit page.
LONDON SHORT STORY FESTIVAL
June 12th 2014
We're just over a week away from the inaugural London Short Story Festival, brought to us by the good folk at Spread The Word. With an impressive line up of talks, workshops, launches, and readings from some short fiction champions, the festival will take place next weekend at Europe's biggest bookstore: Waterstones Piccadilly. As one of the festival partners, we're handing a few boxes of the latest issue of Popshot over to the festival which will be given out for free to all LSSF ticket holders - until copies run out of course. So, if attending some great short fiction-oriented events wasn't enough, now you can hold of a free copy of Popshot as well. Find out everything you need to know by heading to the London Short Story Festival website.
LITERARY SUBMISSIONS FOR ISSUE 12 ARE NOW OPEN
June 5th 2014
The long wait for submissions to open up again is finally over, and we're very pleased to unveil the theme for our 12th issue — Time. With that, submissions are now officially open and we're ready to start receiving your time-oriented poems and short stories over the next 7 weeks. As always, please take your, um, time, to think over the various interpretations of that word and to explore its possibilities. Thanks to its intangible nature, it's a word that's drenched in abstraction and fascinating concepts, so we're really looking forward to seeing what the great minds of today's literary scene can do with it.
Head to our submit page to read the full submissions guidelines — which have been tweaked a bit since the last issue — and we can't wait to read your mini masterpieces.
CAMPUS, THE SOCIAL NETWORK FOR POETS
May 23rd 2014
One of the most curious things about the poetry world is that there doesn't appear to be one hub at the centre of all of it. Whilst fashion or technology or interior design may centre around certain magazines or websites, poetry is a generally disparate affair. Organisations like The Poetry Society in the UK, or Poetry Foundation in the US seem to be the closest we can get to a poetic community.
However, with the arrival of Campus, the groundwork for a fully functioning poetic community has been laid. What is Campus? Well, in their own words, it's a social network for poets. The brainchild of The Poetry School, it's a community driven online platform that brings together poets from all over the world to discuss, debate, and discover. If you think that this could be your sort of thing, head to the Campus website and sign up to find out more.
THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF ISSUE 11, NOW ON PINTEREST
May 13th 2014
Now that our eleventh issue, The Journeys Issue, is safely nestled into bookshelves and coffee tables around the world, we've uploaded all of its visual treats onto our illustration-laden Pinterest page. The latest issue featured yet another stupendous crop of illustrators who helped bring some beautiful pieces of writing to life - the illustration above created in response to Adena Graham's spine tingling flash fiction piece, The Hut.
If you want to read the fiction and poetry that they were inspired by, you can check out a few pages here before getting hold of your own copy at our single issues page.
TONGUE FU AT UDDERBELLY
May 8th 2014
Thanks to their diverse line-ups, mixing the established with the rising and the traditional with the modern, we've always been fans of what the kids at Tongue Fu get up to. This time it's no different, with their next event hosting poetry legend and BBC Radio 4 presenter Roger McGough, folk-hop super hero Dizraeli and three of the brightest new names from the next generation of spoken word artists: Indigo Williams, Amy McAllister and Ben Norris. It takes place in just under a week at London's Southbank Centre and you can pick up your tickets here.
5 YEARS OF POPSHOT
April 24th 2014
Time is a funny thing. Back in June 2008 the idea of Popshot pinged into life after reading an article written by the editor of an established poetry title in an edition of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. Considering the book is supposed to advise and inspire, it was a surprisingly downbeat piece that called for writers to limit their expectations and understand their place in the writing hierarchy. The indignation that ensued became the launch pad for Popshot, and after we had deluded ourselves that this would allow an early retirement, the first issue launched on April 24th 2009.
Since then a lot has changed, and some things haven't. The burning desire to change poetry forever has since lessened in favour of publishing some words that give our minds the chance to wander. The magazine has been lauded in a few newspapers, a few magazines, and is now sold in the bookshops of more than 20 countries. Some of the relatively unknown poets that we published in the early issues have gone on to become reputable names in the literary world. A few have been picked up by major publishing houses - Chelsey Flood being one such example from our first issue. We've had the pleasure of working with over 200 illustrators, most of whom were utterly delightful. We've gained a new logo, redesigned the magazine, relaunched the website countless times, and even made it possible to read Popshot on an iPhone. A few abusive emails have been received ('trolls' being the most bizarre insult) but generally, most of the stuff written about us has been of a kind nature that has made all the late nights totally worthwhile. Thanks to the generosity of our fantastic contributors, a few open-minded employers, and of course, our much-loved readers and subscribers, we've remained unfunded the whole time. We've not yet printed a single advert in the magazine.
It's been a truly sublime 5 years and we want to thank every single person who has had any impact on us in any way, shape or form. If you like the magazine and want to see it here in another 5 years' time, consider supporting Popshot by buying a copy, subscribing or writing something complimentary on a social network somewhere.
BOXEDIN AT BOXPARK: AN EVENING OF SPOKEN WORD
April 21st 2014
Anyone who is familiar with Boxpark in Shoreditch will be more aware of its capacity for selling fine threads from niche retailers than its spoken word nights. However, with a couple of said nights under their belt in the past few months, Boxpark's very own spoken word event is returning to the village of shipping containers on April 29th. The event is totally free and more details can be found at their website or at their event page on Facebook.
LONDON SHORT STORY FESTIVAL
April 14th 2014
Whether it's the 'sitting in a field and getting drunk on cider' type or otherwise, we're suckers for a good festival. So we were rather enthused to discover that the literary development organisation, Spread The Word, are gearing up for their inaugural London Short Story Festival this June. The festival will include talks, workshops, masterclasses, author Q&A’s and readings from a number of reputable writers, many of whom are still to be announced. We'll keep you posted on more details closer to the time but in the interim, you can find out more over at Spread The Word.
ISSUE 11 IS OUT NOW
April 1st 2014
After months of careful curation, The Journeys Issue has slipped off the printing presses and is now officially out in the world.
From escaping the rat race to explore the planet, to mapping out our lives in jars of memories, to watching a baby's lungs billow into action for the first time; the new issue features 24 short stories and poems that allow us to travel into the curious minds that stipple today's literary and illustration scene.
If you want to voyage through a few of the spreads, you can do so here before ordering the real thing at our single issues page, or subscribing from just £10 a year. Alternatively, you can read the new issue on your tablet or phone by downloading the Popshot app. It's all so 21st century...
THE (NEW) POETRY REVIEW
March 28th 2014
Back in November we wrote about the revitalised Ambit Magazine, which was turning a new leaf with a new editorial team and a complete redesign of the magazine. A few months on, and one of the stalwarts of poetry magazines, The Poetry Review (formerly known as just Poetry Review) has followed suit, announcing its first redesign in over ten years.
As one of the most widely read poetry magazines in the UK, it's great to see it scrubbing up its image, not only for its own benefit but for the benefit of poetry as a whole. The disconnect between literary substance and visual style has always been something we've been fascinated by - in fact, if that disconnect didn't exist, Popshot probably wouldn't either - so it's a real joy to see a closing of the chasm. Note the illustrated cover as well, created by Alessandro Gottardo, also known as Shout.
Well done The Poetry Review, very well done.
ISSUE 11 IS IMMINENT
March 26th 2014
In just five days' time, our eleventh issue will embark on its journey towards the bookshops and the subscriber's doormats of this world. To be one of the first to find it in your hands, pre-order your copy or subscribe from just £10 a year.
POEMS THAT MAKE GROWN MEN CRY
March 25th 2014
This should probably win an award for having one of the most unambiguous book titles known to modern society. A new poetry anthology published by Simon & Schuster, entitled Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, with contributions from Daniel Radcliffe, Nick Cave, and John le Carré amongst others. Found on The Guardian.
FOYLE YOUNG POETS 2014
March 21st 2014
There aren't a huge number of literary magazines and organisations that help support the next generation of young writers. However, of the ones that do, the Foyle Young Poets Award is one of the finest. Run by the Poetry Society (who also run Young Poets Network), the competition has helped provide a platform, and ongoing support, to some of the young writers that have gone on to become figureheads in the poetry world. This year's competition to find some of the most promising young poets aged 11-17 is now open, with judging duties taken care of by Grace Nichols and Simon Barraclough. The deadline passes on July 31st, and you can find out more about it from the Foyle Young Poets website.
ISSUE 11 - THE COVER
March 14th 2014
With our forthcoming issue of Popshot - The Journeys Issue - being sent to print this morning, we're thrilled to now release the cover artwork for it, illustrated by the sublimely talented Darren Hopes. Containing 24 short stories and poems, illustrated by a raft of fantastic contemporary illustrators, it's an issue we're very proud to be putting out.
To get hold of your copy before anyone else, you can pre-order Issue 11 through our single issues page, or subscribe from just £10. The print edition will launch on April 1st with subscriber's copies and pre-orders going out the same day. Digital subscribers will also receive the new issue onto their smartphones and tablets courtesy of the Popshot app.
March 12th 2014
Apologies for the month-long radio silence dear readers. Between putting together our brand new issue, and living out its message in the real world, we've not made an awful lot of time for much else. However, with the cover for Issue 11 being unveiled in just a couple of days' time, we thought we would give you a brief glimpse of what our eyes have been filled with over the last week. One more proofread and a layout check, and we're off to the printers!
February 13th 2014
After spending the last two months or so immersed in poems and short stories about journeys, we thought it time to embark on some journeys of our own. A couple of poems in particular from the forthcoming issue inspired us to dust off the passports and make a run for the skies, so as a result, Popshot will be on holiday for the next 2 weeks. That's not to say that everything will close down completely, we'll still be keeping on top of all correspondence, just a little slower than usual. However, all orders will be sent out upon our return so keep that in mind when subscribing or ordering single issues. If you can't bear to wait for 2 weeks for a printed edition to arrive, you can always download the Popshot app which contains every issue we've ever made.
WANTED: YOUNG SOHO WRITER IN RESIDENCE
February 5th 2014
Here's an exciting opportunity for a London-based writer aged 18-30. IdeasTap and Spread The Word are looking for an experienced short fiction writer or poet to be Soho Writer in Residence for the London-wide Cityread campaign during April of this year. The successful writer will receive a £5000 payment, a mentor, and a series of commissions based on Soho which will be arranged by Spread The Word. The deadline for applications is on February 12th at 12pm, so if you're interested in being involved, you can read more over at IdeasTap. One week and counting...
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